Reasons to upgrade to Exchange 2013

exchangelogoHere our resident Microsoft guru, Ryan Godfrey, shares his advice for upgrading your organisation to Exchange 2013…

Exchange Administration Center (EAC): The GUI-based EMC (Exchange Management Console) and the Web-based ECP (Exchange Control Panel) have being replaced by a single Web-based UI allowing administrators to manage Exchange from any browser interface.

Exchange architecture revisions: Exchange 2007 and 2010 are broken into five server roles, mainly to address performance issues like CPU utilisation. Microsoft has made progress on the performance side, so Exchange 2013 has two main roles: Client Access and Mailbox server roles. The Mailbox server role includes all the typical server components (including unified messaging), and the Client Access server role handles all the authentication, redirection, and proxy services.

A new managed store: The store service has been completely rewritten, however Exchange 2013 continues to use ESE as the database engine. Now each database runs in its own dedicated worker process, so a hung process in one database will not cause problems in other databases. Fast Search is also integrated into the managed store for improved search and indexing.

PowerShell cmdlets: Although some cmdlets have been removed (many having to do with the old public folder management), Exchange 2013 brings with an estimated additional 180 new PowerShell cmdlets.

Modern public folders: They are no longer managed through the separate Public Folder Management Console; instead, they are managed via the EAC. That makes them public folder mailboxes, which means they use regular mailbox databases. In turn, this means they can be made part of a database availability group for disaster recovery.

DLP (data loss prevention): DLP is new in Exchange 2013’s transport rules, but it’s also a continuation of Mail Tips in that it warns users when they may be violating policies meant to prevent disclosure of sensitive data. Such disclosures are usually inadvertent, so the use of DLP-fired reminders lets users be aware when they are putting something like a credit card number or Social Security number in an email. The built-in DLP policies are based on regulatory standards.

Outlook Web App enhancements: The whole of OWA is redesigned. One standout feature is support for offline access, which lets users write messages in their browser when offline, then have the messages delivered when they connect to the Internet. OWA supports this feature in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 10, Apple’s Safari 5, and Google’s Chrome 16 (or later), all of which support the HTML5 local data storage feature. There’s also a new set of UI layouts that users can choose from for desktop, tablet, and smartphone use.

Built-in anti-malware: Exchange has had anti-spam capabilities for quite some time; as of Exchange 2007 you could even choose whether to turn on anti-spam in the Edge role or in the Hub Transport role. Exchange 2013 extends anti-spam to a broader set of antimalware capabilities, such as to block phishing attempts.

Mailbox Databases: More Databases, 5 for Standard edition, allowing Administrators to split Mailboxes and have smaller, more manageable databases.

Enhanced Email Retention, Archiving, Legal Hold, and eDiscovery: Exchange 2010 introduced integrated email retention, archiving, journaling, and eDiscovery. With Exchange 2013, Microsoft expanded the capabilities to improve key areas of Classification, integration with Rights Management Services, improved eDiscovery capabilities, and the ability to search and hold not only Exchange data, but holistically across Exchange data, Exchange archives, and SharePoint data so that a single query and action can centrally manage all of the content for users.

Enterprise Scale and Supportability: With Exchange 2013, it’s possible to support upwards of 50,000 to 250,000 mailboxes on a single server with enhancements made to the core platform. Additionally, where in the past you had to patch/update the frontend and backend servers simultaneously, with Exchange 2013, the separation between the CAS frontend role and the MBX backend role does not require simultaneous patching and updating.

Cloud Integration with Office 365\Exchange online fully supported:In the past, the conversation of email in the cloud was a decision of all or nothing; you either decided to pick up and move everything to the cloud, or keep all email on premise. But with Exchange 2013 (and Exchange 2010 at the right patch level), Microsoft has completely changed the concept of cloud email with full support of a hybrid on premise and cloud model.

Other improvements include:

  • Support for more mobile devices, phones, tablets
  • Tight integration with SharePoint, Lync, and Office Web Apps

Service Pack 1 introduces:

  • Now Windows Server 2012 R2 supported as an operating system
  • The Edge role is now available
  • DLP Enhancements
  • ADFS for OWA
  • S/Mime Support for OWA
  • OWA Formatting, rich text editor
  • “IP Less” Database Availability Groups (DAG’s), requires Windows Server 2012 R2
  • SSL offloading
  • Exchange admin Center cmdlet logging
  • MAPI over HTTP without using RPC (requires outlook 2013)


Ryan Godfrey, Infrastructure ConsultantAuthor: Ryan Godfrey, Infrastructure Consultant
Ryan has ten years’ experience with a broad range of skills and knowledge within the IT industry, designing and delivering projects to Foundation IT’s customers. He has been working with Microsoft Exchange from version 5 through to Exchange 2010 during this time, and more recently testing Exchange 2013.


One thought on “Reasons to upgrade to Exchange 2013

  1. thadspencer

    Excellent as always Ryan. Thanks for sharing. I’m planning to upgrade from 2007 later this year; any pitfalls I’m likely to encounter?




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